‘It’s so bad’: How Warren and Klobuchar are navigating sexism


PERRY, Iowa — Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar are running against more than just their opponents. The pair are speaking more openly, in different ways, about what their campaigns see as an obstacle they alone face: sexism on the campaign trail. 

Three years after the Women’s March and one year after a wave of female politicians rode into Congress — backed, largely, by female voters — the Democratic Party could exit Iowa and New Hampshire without a woman in the top three slots, according to early-state polling. 

Warren and Klobuchar, the final remaining women with formidable support in a primary that saw a historic six female candidates run, are entering the run-up to Iowa with persistent questions of “electability” growing louder. Meanwhile, a firestorm consumed the primary this week over whether a woman can beat Donald Trump. 

“We have to grapple with the fact that some people think a woman can’t win … I have heard about it from our own people [and] I’ve noticed it,” Klobuchar told POLITICO in an interview. The Minnesota Democrat called it “a real barrier” that’s only grown more obvious as the primary has ground on. It has prompted her to speak more openly about sexism, she said, “especially because I’ve seen my very qualified sisters have to leave the race — that was really, for me, a turning point.”

But Klobuchar and Warren have addressed sexism is markedly different ways. In debates and on the campaign trail, Klobuchar for months has addressed it head on. Warren, by contrast, has mostly been mute on the subject — until Tuesday night’s debate.

‘It’s so bad’: How Warren and Klobuchar are navigating sexism
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 19: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) (R) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)) walk on the stage after the Democratic presidential primary debate at Loyola Marymount University on December 19, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. Seven candidates out of the crowded field qualified for the 6th and last Democratic presidential primary debate of 2019 hosted by PBS NewsHour and Politico. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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